Failure Lies Only In the Untempered

It is time to rethink failure and our fear of it.

“Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.” — George Canning

Failure is steeped in fear, because it is misunderstood.

It is the answer to a question. It is the result of an experiment. Can I jump over that small stream? Is bamboo a good filament for light bulbs?

“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions... as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.” [Nietzsche]

I suggest we go one step further.

The answer to a question is right or wrong. An experiment is successful or unsuccessful. Failure holds no power here. It exists elsewhere.

Failure lives in the inability to act. It lives in the refusal to learn from past action. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” [Henry Ford].

Failure is the essence of putting forth no effort. The result is no progress, no growth and no improvement. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” [Chris Bradford] Failure is the result of not starting.

Let’s recast the concept of failure. It is no longer an outcome of action unless the willingness to learn is absent. The real failure lies in inaction, indifference and delay.

Names have power. Name something a failure, and it is perceived as bad. Name a possible outcome of action as failure, and it is feared.

Replace “failure” with “result” or “outcome.” Failure is no longer part of the equation. Learning and progress are achieved regardless of the result.

Action tempers as fire does steel. Failure lies only in the untempered.


🤔 Food for Thought:

What do you think of failure being an answer... not a result that defines you?

What do you think of viewing failure as only the result of inaction?

Is failure something you fear?


⚙️ One Small Step:

The next time you try something new or unfamiliar, think about the possible results. Don’t include failure as one of them. Remove it entirely from the equation. Every result should have the positive outcome of something gained. Does this lessen your fear?